Label: Hemlock Recordings
Release Date: 15/12/13
Considering Hessle and Hemlock’s Joe has kept a relatively low profile in the past year, the last month has been a fruitful one, seeing the release of two new EPs respectively. Here at SL it was the second of these releases that really caught our attention, not least because of its unexpected nature (which is paradoxically something we’ve come to expect from the producer).
From early on in the South Londoner’s career, his intricate, delicate approach to percussion gave him an instantly recognisable sound, which hasn’t suffered from a shift to slower tempos. ‘Punters Step Out’ and ‘Club Scared’ adds to the canon of surprising releases, offering us two tracks that sound as if they’ve been pulled from completely different records.
A-side ‘Punters Step Out’ launches in swinging drunken punches, at first sounding like the theme from Chucky Returns with it’s wavering, detuned Hammond chords. Behind it is a fairly inoffensive beat swaying in an out of the mix; at times drowned in layers of dense reverb, at others brought sharply into focus. As the track progresses, its wavering melody and erratic percussion seem to get a grip of themselves for a minute or two, only to descend once again into the disorientating mess the track opened with in its closing minutes.
B-side ‘Club Scared’ offers no confusion as to its nature; an unrelentingly percussive onslaugh launches in right from the offset, calling to mind the sort of frenetic twisted drums used by Randomer. It can be considered perhaps the more “club friendly” side of the record, although admittedly hearing “this is a trick’ and “you have heard this before” might not be what you’d consider ‘friendly’ at four in the morning. Joe’s panic-inducing vocals are vaguely reminiscent of those used through Funkineven’s retro-styled “Roland’s Jam”, jumping out between jagged, tension-fraught rhythms.
In a recent interview exchange with Call Super, Joe mentioned how he has recently committed to taking music seriously as a full-time pursuit. If I had been to second guess this I’d probably argue it’d be likely this would lead to a rationalisation, and watering down of his sound so as not to jeopardise any pre-established credibility. In fact what Joe has done with this record is quite the opposite, showing he is still just as happy to challenge perceptions as to what dancefloor music “should be” as ever.